Armenian Aleppo: An Evening of Music, Photographs and Stories

2015-08 40MartyrsImageTo inaugurate its Autumn program of learning opportunities, the Zohrab Information Center will host the release of a new audio CD entitled, Forty Martyrs: Armenian Chanting from Aleppo on Friday, September 18 at 7PM in the Kavookjian Auditorium of the Armenian Diocese in New York.

Forty Martyrs is the latest release of the Sacred Voices of Syria series produced by Jason Hamacher. Over six years the musician has documented the ancient prayers, hallowed rituals and sacred spaces of the Sufi, Armenian, Syriac and Assyrian musical traditions of Aleppo. Hamacher recorded Armenian Church hymns sung by V. Rev. Fr. Yeznig Zegchanian inside the 600 year-old Armenian Church of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste in the old city of Aleppo.

The 14th century Armenian Cathedral of the Forty Martyrs in Aleppo, Syria.
The 14th century Armenian Cathedral of the Forty Martyrs in Aleppo, Syria.

Armenians have chanted in Aleppo’s Forty Martyrs Armenian Church (Քառասուն մանկանց – Karasoon Mangants) since it was constructed in 1429. An ancient rest stop along the Christian pilgrimage route from Western Armenia to Jerusalem, Aleppo hosted hostels, churches, and a small but well-anchored Armenian community.

During the Armenian Genocide, hundreds of thousands of Armenians were deported to Aleppo before many were pushed to the killing fields of Der Zor. By the 1920’s 100,000 Armenian refugees had settled in Syria, most of them in Aleppo. The ancient city would become a safe haven for the Armenians, who prospered there. (CLICK HERE for one Armenian’s tribute to the city and its hospitable inhabitants). The 15th century Armenian Cathedral of the Forty Martyrs was the Christian home for tens of thousands of Armenians who would later immigrate to the United States.

The bloodshed in Syria today has reduced the Armenian population of Aleppo by half and and placed this historic, prolific and prosperous community in peril.

Mr. Hamacher will share personal experiences of the people, places and events that changed his life in Syria before the eruption of war. He will tell stories, play vinyl records, and show photographs from his forthcoming book and explain how he, a punk drummer from Washington DC, ended up with an archive of Syrian and Armenian history.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A FULL-COLOR FLYER.

This event marks the premiere of the Forty Martyrs CD in the New York area. Copies of the CD and the elegant and informative booklet that accompanies it will be available for sale. The presentation is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. For further information contact the Zohrab Center at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710. #40Martyrs.

The Forty Martyrs Church is named after 40 Roman soldiers who converted to Christianity only to be martyred by pagan, Roman authorities in 320 AD. Continue reading “Armenian Aleppo: An Evening of Music, Photographs and Stories”

The Canonization of the Armenian Martyrs of 1915. What is Christian Martyrdom Anyway?

JohnsonImage.001In April 2015, on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, under the auspices of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church will take the momentous step to officially recognize as saints of the church the countless souls who perished during the Genocide in witness of their Christian faith.

The Rev. Dr. Maxwell E. Johnson, Professor of Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN) will present a lecture entitled, The Blood of the Martyrs: Seed of the Church Yesterday and Today on Thursday, October 9 at 7:00PM.

BloodMartyrsJohnson.001CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A FLYER.

Surveying traditional interpretations of Christian martyrdom, Professor Johnson will address the relevance of the canonization of the Armenian Martyrs of 1915 for the Armenian Church and people today.   

Maxwell E. Johnson is Professor of Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
Maxwell E. Johnson is Professor of Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

The illustrated lecture is free and open to the public. It will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese, 630 Second Avenue, New York, NY.

The Rev. Dr. Maxwell E. Johnson is an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a leading scholar of early Christian liturgy and worship. He has written extensively on topics related to Baptism, Eucharist, the Liturgical Year, Mary, the Saints, and Ecumenism. He has lectured at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary on Armenian Baptismal Rites and Spirituality.

Professor Johnson’s most recent book, Praying and Believing in Early Christianity: The Interplay between Christian Worship and Doctrine, is concerned with how the worship of the church shapes and is shaped by doctrine. Copies will be available for purchase at the lecture. Guests will have the opportunity to greet Prof. Johnson during a wine and cheese reception that will follow his presentation.

For further information contact the Zohrab Center at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710.

#ArmenianMartyrs